India has been governed by many rulers in the past, some indigenous and some invaders. To make an impression, they created grand palaces, forts, tombs, gardens, and royal sculptures. Though the Indian government formally stripped all princely families of their titles in 1971, there are certain royal dynasties who have maintained the noble heritage. They may no longer have official powers, but they are influential, wealthy, and offer personalized experiences to discerning travelers. Here is how YOU can travel like a royal in India.
The Royal Welcome: With a procession of folk dancers and musicians welcoming guests with full zest to the regal rides on decorative camel carts and horse carriages, India has perfected the art of the grand entrance. Many hotels welcome travelers with rose petals and a traditional Aarti ceremony, the waving of lighted lamps in front of a person being honored. You don’t need to necessarily have a luxury itinerary to experience the royal welcome - Indian hospitality is unmatched and will almost always make you feel like nobility.
A Royal Abode: Boasting of the rich and glorious past, the stunning royal forts and palaces are the best way to witness the lifestyle once led by the Maharajas. Experience the grandeur as you stay in exclusive, historical spaces that have been converted to hotels. Taj Lake Palace, Umaid Bhawan Palace, and Falaknuma Palace are just a few of the original royal palaces with an extensive legacy. These award-winning hotels are often included in the world’s best hotel list for their elegance and extravagance.
Noble Dining: A slice of the royal life would be incomplete without food. The guarded secrets and techniques of the royal kitchens have been passed on through the generations, preserving a culinary legacy and love for food. In Jaipur, a stay at the iconic City Palace includes cuisine inspired by the illustrious recipes from the noble kitchen. Whether enjoying multi-course meals at a palace restaurant or learning recipes at the home of a royal family, the experience is sure to be treasured.
Splendid Monuments: India’s history is filled with stories of extravagant Kings, Queens, Nizams, and Lords. Marbled palaces and towering forts feature doorways and hallways embedded with semi-precious stones and crystal furniture. Richly decorated real gold leaf work and hand painted frescoes adorn the ceilings. Museums that exhibit the royal treasures, antiques, and armory all echo the rich and fascinating heritage of the bygone era. The Taj Mahal in Agra, City Palace in Jaipur and Udaipur, Mysore Palace in Mysore, Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur, and Jas Vilas Palace in Gwalior are some of the finest impressions embodying royalty.
Hospitality: One of the many things that sets India apart from the rest of the world is hospitality. The warmth reigns supreme and is ingrained in the heritage. Many of the royal butlers now working in heritage hotels are direct descendants of the original palace retainers who had served the rulers in their time. The personal stories offer a glimpse into the past and sprinkle a historical narrative at happy hour.
The Royal Pastime: Be transported to the royal courts as you witness a cultural performance with musicians playing their tunes and dancers adorned with colorful attire. The royal inclination towards the arts has gifted many renowned poets, musicians, and artists in the country. There were magnificent summer palaces built exclusively for their recreational purpose. The iconic games of Chess, Polo, Wrestling, and Ludo were also a contribution of Indian Royalty to the world.
Festivals and Ceremonies: The Royals celebrated every occasion and festival with great enthusiasm and elegance. Even today, there are certain festivals like Holi, Diwali, and Dussehra where a Royal Procession takes place in a city illuminated in fairy lights and festive fervor. Travelers may also be a part of the celebration with a Royal Family and experience the spectacular display with a local, personal connection.
Luxury Trains: All aboard! Be introduced to the charm of royal travel with the luxury trains across India, including Palace on Wheels and Deccan Odyssey. The private cabins are no less than princely abodes, with tastefully decorated interiors and all the modern amenities of a luxury hotel. Fine dining experiences showcase the most delectable gems from the region. A red carpet and royal procession welcomes guests at the respective destinations, and each cabin includes a private butler.